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Zahar Afanasyev
Zahar Afanasyev

Where Can I Buy Bitter Melon Capsules

You can buy bitter melon as a supplement. You can also find it at many Asian grocery stores. It might be fresh, dried, canned, or pickled. There are bitter melon seeds, flowers, leaves, and juice. You could even find bitter melon tea bags.

where can i buy bitter melon capsules

Don't take bitter melon if you have G6PD deficiency. You could get a condition called "favism" after you eat bitter melon seeds. This can cause severe symptoms like headache, fever, stomach pain, and coma.

But for every study finding a positive result, there seems to be two with negative findings. This 2014 review of four RCTs looked at a total of 208 patients and found that bitter melon had no effect on A1C (amount of hemoglobin with attached glucose) or blood glucose levels. This 2015 study with 95 participants confirmed the hypoglycemic effects of bitter melon, but found it offered poor glycemic control compared to glibenclamide (a commonly prescribed medication for type 2 diabetes).

The most comprehensive review of the lot, done in 2012, examined four RCTs, a total of 479 patients, and found that bitter melon offer no difference in glycemic control compared to a placebo or to the medications metformin or glibenclamide.

There is some debate over the effects of the preparation and administration of the bitter melon on the results. In general, it seems that the fresher the better, with fruit smoothies and juices showing the best results, and capsules the worst. But even those best results are no better than a placebo.

The fruit itself is quite bitter, but this is what makes it special (and there are easy ways to make it taste good, which I'll share later!). It gives many dishes a twist, and in fact, some people crave the taste of bitter melon and swear that it is what gives certain dishes their characteristic flavor. But what makes this fruit even more appealing is its medicinal qualities. It is widely used in traditional and ayurvedic medicine for anything from wound healing to diabetes to digestive and liver support.

It may be a small fruit, but it's mighty. Packed with phytonutrients and vitamins, it's a good source of vitamins C, A, and E. It also is rich in B vitamins, including folate and B2. Additionally, it has potassium, iron, magnesium, and zinc. If that's not enough, it contains high levels of antioxidants. The medicinal properties of bitter melon are attributed to antioxidant classes2 called phenols, flavonoids, isoflavones, terpenes, anthraquinones, and glucosinolates. These are also the compounds that contribute to the bitter taste of the fruit.

In traditional Chinese medicine, bitter melon is frequently used for diabetes. The main components of bitter melon that are attributed to the anti-diabetic effects are called chantarin, polypeptide-p, and vicine. The thought3 is that, when ingested, these chemicals act somewhat similarly to insulin: They help the body absorb blood sugar into cells and store it in muscle and fat. This all sounds very promising, but high-quality research on diabetes and bitter melon is still somewhat conflicting, and more evidence is needed, particularly given that the dose4 needed to achieve anti-diabetic effects is quite high.

The potential healing properties of bitter melon are not limited to anti-diabetic effects. In traditional Chinese medicine, the plant is believed to have anti-inflammatory, anti-mutagen or cholesterol-lowering properties. The fruit, leaves, stems, and roots are all used3 to help treat gastrointestinal disorders, ulcers, kidney stones, liver disease, cancer, infections, psoriasis, menstrual problems, and skin infections and wounds. Bitter melon is believed to have antiviral properties, stimulating the body's own defense system, and supporting fighting off infections. It is also a popular traditional remedy for malaria due to its anthelmintic properties5.

Bitter melon can be used in a number of ways. If it is taken for medicinal purposes, it is usually available as a capsule or juice. The supplements are highly concentrated extracts of the seeds. They are commercially available and have few side effects, though an exception is that people with low blood sugar should be cautious when taking bitter melon supplements, as there could be adverse effects (it is, after all, mimicking insulin in your body, as noted above!). I'd recommend discussing this with your dietitian or doctor to make sure there are no contraindications.

When cooking with bitter melon, the healing effects tend to be less potent, as some of the nutrients are denatured during the cooking process, though there are still health benefits to be reaped. Pachad, a South Indian creamy cucumber yogurt sauce that contains bitter melon, is considered a medicinal dish for diabetes. The fruit is popular in Indian cuisine: In North India, it's used in curries and is often served pickled. In South India, it is eaten fried with other vegetables, served with nuts, or in soups.

In Chinese cuisine, the fruit is valued for its bitter taste and is usually fried with meat. Bitter melon is a popular ingredient in Okinawan (one of the long-lived Blue Zones) dishes. The fruit is also widely used in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Trinidad, and Tobago or Mauritius. In all these cultures, bitter melon is valued for its special taste and healing properties.

Many Asian or Indian grocers or markets carry bitter melon, which looks like a shriveled, light-green cucumber. You can also occasionally find it at natural markets or Whole Foods (I'd call and ask ahead of time). Most natural markets will carry it in tincture or capsule form, and of course, you can find these online as well.

Bitter melon fruit is recommended in ancient Indian and Chinese medicine for prevention/treatment of diabetes. However its effects on cancer progression are not well understood. Here, we have determined the efficacy of methanolic extracts of bitter melon on colon cancer stem and progenitor cells. Both, whole fruit (BMW) and skin (BMSk) extracts showed significant inhibition of cell proliferation and colony formation, with BMW showing greater efficacy. In addition, the cells were arrested at the S phase of cell cycle. Moreover, BMW induced the cleavage of LC3B but not caspase 3/7, suggesting that the cells were undergoing autophagy and not apoptosis. Further confirmation of autophagy was obtained when western blots showed reduced Bcl-2 and increased Beclin-1, Atg 7 and 12 upon BMW treatment. BMW reduced cellular ATP levels coupled with activation of AMP activated protein kinase; on the other hand, exogenous additions of ATP lead to revival of cell proliferation. Finally, BMW treatment results in a dose-dependent reduction in the number and size of colonospheres. The extracts also decreased the expression of DCLK1 and Lgr5, markers of quiescent, and activated stem cells. Taken together, these results suggest that the extracts of bitter melon can be an effective preventive/therapeutic agent for colon cancer.

In this paper, we present the results of our in vitro experiments showing that methanolic extracts of bitter melon (BMW) inhibit cell proliferation, prevent colony formation, and promote S phase cell cycle arrest of colon cancer cells. We also show that these extracts suppress cancer cell spheroid formation suggesting that the extracts target stem cells within the cancer. Mechanistically, we have determined that while the extracts do not induce apoptosis, there is autophagy via the AMPK signaling pathway. In addition, the extracts modulate energy homeostasis to affect the viability of the colon cancer cells.

Recent studies have demonstrated that a small population of cells contains tumor initiating potential while the majority of cells within a tumor have undergone differentiation and lost this potential [30]. Colonospheres are spheroids that are grown in ultralow binding plates and are believed to represent the growth of cells from stem cells [31]. Hence, the colonosphere cultures are used extensively to determine the effect of agents on stem cells. Accordingly, to determine the effect of bitter melon extracts on 3D cultures, cells treated with BMW were used for spheroid formation. The BMW-treated cells showed marked decrease in spheroid formation, when compared to control-treated cells (Figure 6(a)). Moreover, BMW treatment resulted in a concentration dependent decline in both the size and number of spheroids formed (Figure 6(b)).

The data presented in this paper demonstrates that the methanolic extract of bitter melon is potent in inhibiting the growth of colon cancer cells. Since, cancer is a disease involving uncontrolled proliferation of cells, if a drug product is able to deter this cell division, it can potentially possess anticancer activity. Given the potent inhibition of proliferation of HT-29 and SW480 colon cancer cells by the bitter melon extracts, we proceeded with determining the mechanism of action. As a first step, we tested whether the activity resides in the skin or in the flesh. We did this because previous studies have demonstrated potent anticancer activity in the skin of grapes and peanuts [33, 34]. In bitter melon, our data suggests that the active ingredient most probably resides in the flesh as it inhibited cell proliferation with a much higher efficiency than the extracts from the skin.

LC3B cleavage is another strong indicator of cells undergoing autophagy. During autophagy LC3B is released which then binds with autophagic vacuoles [25]. Immunocytochemistry analysis showed significant increase in the expression levels of LC3B. Further, the increased levels of cleaved LC3B as observed by western blot indicate LC3B activation showing presence of active autophagy. Another indicator of autophagy is though the increased incorporation of MDC in the cells. MDC is a specific in vivo marker for labeling autophagic vacuoles [26]. Again, there was a marked increase in the incorporation of MDC in the cells treated with bitter melon flesh extracts. Furthermore, the levels of Atg 5 and Atg 7, two well-known autophagy markers significantly increased in the treated cells further confirming the presence of autophagy as the mechanism of death for the cells. 041b061a72


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